“I pay you really well to take care of this stuff, and when you make excuses for what happens, it makes you seem small.” These were the words Andrew Stone heard that made him want to get off the plane, even though he was 30,000 feet in the air. The sad part of the story is Stone wasn’t making excuses; he was only explaining why some things had happened at the last event. The best part of the story is what he learned from it and what I think we can all learn from it.
Andrew Stone was at the Gurus of Tech conference as an FOH panel member. During the FOH session, a lot of useful information flowed out, including his revelation that came from working as a tour manager. Andrew has worked in all facets of audio production over the last 23 years, from audio engineer to tour manager to his current job as production manager / audio engineer at Church On the Move in Tulsa, OK.
Do you make excuses?
If you make excuses to your pastor or whomever you report, I’ll keep this short and say, “STOP!” Read on and I’ll explain why.
You words are open to interpretation
I didn’t think I made excuses when I talked with my pastor after a service. I was either;
- Blowing off a little steam over an issue
- Thinking out loud, trying to work out an issue
- Owning up to a mistake
- Or giving a reason for an issue that was beyond my control. (oh dang, I think I just gave the definition of an excuse.)
These seem like OK things to do. Now let’s contrast those against what I’m expected to do; take care of all things audio. In the words of Andrew Stone, “you pay me to have broad shoulders.“ Whether or not you are a volunteer or a staff member, it doesn’t matter. You are responsible for all things audio.
Taking responsibility means;
- Owning up to your mistakes.
- Being pro-active to prevent problems.
- Dealing with problems when they occur.
- Accessing issues after the service. In the words of Bill Hybels, “ask the questions ‘How did it happen and what can we learn from it?’”
- Venting your frustrations with a friend or with someone on your audio team. Don’t pour it all out on the pastor or the worship leader after the service.
What you can learn from Bill Hybels
Pastor Bill Hybels was the last speaker at the Gurus 2012 conference. Regarding responsibility for audio production, I’m reminded of what Bill said; “the first time I held a microphone, I realized I’d have to rely on someone else for me to do my job.“ (I might be paraphrasing a bit – it’s what I scribbling in my notes.) The pastor has a job to do. You have a job to do. You are placed in a position of trust and you have to have broad shoulders to carry that responsibility.
Andrew’s words have stuck with me. I’ve said before, the most important job other than the pastor, is the sound tech. Keep in mind one simple phrase that should embody your attitude, “I’ve got it covered.” When the pastor knows you are taking full responsibility for everything that happens, they can focus 100% on their job.